Taste sensitivity and aging: high incidence of decline revealed by repeated threshold measures.

Abstract:

:Contrary to what has often been said about the subject, decline in taste sensitivity with aging characterizes virtually everybody and is not the artificial result of averaging large losses of a minority with negligible losses of a majority. This assertion is supported by six repeated measures of sucrose thresholds in each of 15 older (over 64 years) and 15 younger (under 27 years) adult subjects. Threshold was determined by a procedure similar to past studies and with the same results: much scatter and considerable overlap between the thresholds of younger and older subjects. A quite contrasting picture emerges, however, when each subject's six threshold determinations are averaged. Averaging shrinks the individual differences among subjects, as well as the over-lap between younger and older subjects. Although virtually all elderly subjects now revealed taste weakness, reliable individual differences in degree of weakness abound among them, suggesting various individual rates of physiological aging. In contrast, young persons exhibit greater uniformity of sensitivity. These findings were brought out by inter-test correlations, which were much higher for the older subjects; i.e. an older subject who tended to score high (low) on one test tended to score high (low) on the other tests. The study confirms the tenuous nature of brief threshold tests as indices of personal sensitivity as found earlier also in olfactory thresholds and in concurrent measurement of two-point touch thresholds in the present study. This revealed correlated losses between repeated taste and touch thresholds from the same 15 older subjects, unrelated to their exact chronological age.

journal_name

Chem Senses

journal_title

Chemical senses

authors

Stevens JC,Cruz LA,Hoffman JM,Patterson MQ

doi

10.1093/chemse/20.4.451

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1995-08-01 00:00:00

pages

451-9

issue

4

eissn

0379-864X

issn

1464-3553

journal_volume

20

pub_type

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